This Banh Mi Bowl with Lemongrass Tofu is light and refreshing, yet holds its own as a meal. We love serving the toppings in little bowls to allow our dinner guests to create their own adventure.
For the lemongrass tofu
- 1 14-oz. package firm tofu
- 3 lemongrass stalks
- 2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp. agave
- 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce
- 1 tsp. lime juice
- 1 tsp. red chili pepper flakes
For the pickled veggies
- 1 medium carrot, peeled
- 1 medium daikon radish, peeled
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 Tbsp. agave
- ½ tsp. salt
For the bahn mi bowl
- 1 8-oz. package rice noodles (look for vermicelli // if not, any rice noodles will do)
- 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- ½ cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- Green onion, chopped
- Cilantro, chopped
- Cashews, chopped
- 1 lime, quartered
- Drain the tofu and wrap it in a few layers of paper towel. Place something slightly heavy on top to press out the moisture.
- Meanwhile, make the marinade. Cut the tough bottoms off the lemongrass as well as the stalks. The edible part is the bulb, a four-inch long section near the bottom. Peel off the woody outer layers until you reach the soft inner flesh; finely chop. Whisk together the soy sauce, agave, rice vinegar, lemongrass, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, lime juice, and red chili pepper flakes in a small bowl.
- Slice the tofu into ½ inch pieces. Press with a few layers of dry paper towel (again) to remove any lingering moisture. Arrange the tofu in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Pour the marinade over the tofu, flipping the pieces until all of them are coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, overnight if possible.
- When the tofu is done marinating, preheat your oven to 400F. Uncover the tofu and bake for 20 minutes. Flip the pieces and bake 10 minutes more. Remove the tofu from the oven and set aside.
- While the tofu bakes, pickle the veggies. Use a julienne peeler (or a sharp knife) to thinly slice the carrot and daikon and transfer to a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the agave and salt into the vinegar until dissolved. Pour the pickling liquid over the veggies and toss gently to coat. Let the vegetables sit, stirring occasionally. Taste test the veggies and drain when they’re tangy enough, about 30 minutes.
- Just before serving, cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. If they sit too long they tend to get sticky!
- To serve, divide the romaine lettuce, noodles, tofu, and pickled veggies between four bowls. Top with cucumber, bean sprouts, green onion, cilantro, cashews, and a lime wedge.
Prep time does not include the time it takes to marinate the tofu and pickle the veggies, so please plan accordingly.